Omega-3s and omega-6s compete for the enzymes needed for digestion and that: This means that the more omega-3 fat you eat, the less omega-6 will be available to the tissues to produce inflammation. Table 1 indicated that Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral. A diet with a lot of omega-6 and not much omega-3 will increase inflammation. A diet of a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation8,9. As rates of vegetable oil and sugar consumption have risen, so have rates of heart disease and many other health problems (in fact, the graphs look almost identical). During this same time, consumption of foods that contain saturated fats and omega-3 fats has decreased. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are required in the diet as they cannot be made by humans. The two established EFAs are linoleic acid (C18:2n-6, LA) and ALA. The ALA can be converted in the body into EPA and DHA. The LA is converted in the body to another long chain fatty acid, Arachidonic Acid (AA)-both LA and AA are omega-6s13. Figure 1 shows the pathway of conversion of LA and ALA to their longer chain omega families. The AA and EPA are further metabolized to produce very powerful hormone-like substances (called ʻEicosanoidsʼ) that effect physiological functions such as cell growth and division, inflammatory responses, muscle activity, blood pressure and immune function. Eicosanoids formed from AA are released in the body in response to injury, infection, stress or certain diseases. The EPA forms eicosanoids that behave in opposition to those derived from AA and may help protect against heart attacks and strokes, as well as certain inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, lupus and asthma.
Dr. kshitij Bhardwaj